Due to various contractual obligations put in place long before the pandemic began, the LSA is proceeding with its plans to hold a hybrid-format Annual Meeting at the Washington Hilton in DC. There is currently no legal impediment to holding large indoor gatherings that would allow the LSA to withdraw from its contracts (which involve six-figure sums payable to the hotel if the meeting were to be held virtually).

The planned hybrid format will include live sessions held in person, with some in-person events live streamed to allow for virtual interaction, others recorded and posted online, and some entirely virtual. We are currently working with presenters offered acceptances to determine the precise mix of session formats within our A-V budget. We will not open registration for the meeting until these details have been determined, at least on a preliminary basis.

We understand that presenters and attendees will be making decisions about their potential participation based on safety and other considerations. The LSA will continue to follow all current local and federal laws and regulations governing large indoor gatherings, including mask requirements*, which are available here. In addition, we have asked the Hilton to set all meeting rooms to allow for social distancing among attendees. The hotel will also be following its own enhanced cleaning and safety measures outlined here. The hotel has upgraded its air handling equipment since reopening in April 2021. Please see below for additional details.

The LSA expects all in person attendees to be fully vaccinated and is currently researching protocols to ensure this will be the case. Those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons should plan to participate virtually. Those seeking to register for the meeting on-site will be expected to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result performed within the past 24 hours.

Details on Hilton Washington safety upgrades:

Please note that while the hotel suspended operations from April 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021, several enhancements were made throughout the property:

  • New Air Filters were put in all spaces, meeting rooms, public areas and guests rooms – these filters were upgraded to increase the size of filtrated particles by 50%  (MERV 13 is the filter rating)
  • Fresh Air Intake – previously, air pushed into all spaces was a mix of fresh air and recycled air, that had been scrubbed.  The Washington Hilton is now 100% outside fresh air.
  • In the largest spaces, International Ballroom and Columbia Ballroom, there are at least Three Airflow Supplies, all with 100% Outside Air, with an exchange rate of 65,500 cfm.

* Excerpt of current DC regulations on masking indoors:

Everyone (including fully vaccinated people) must wear masks in indoor public settings. A mask is not required indoors during the following activities/situations when a person is:

o actively eating or drinking

o actively playing indoor sports in a collegiate or professional sports setting

o in the water at a swimming pool or aquatic facility

o alone in an enclosed office that no one else is permitted to enter

o giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, provided no one is within six feet of the speaker

o performing (e.g., singing, dancing, acting, playing an instrument), as long as performers maintain six-foot distance from any audience members

o speaking to or translating for a deaf or hard of hearing person

o required to use equipment for a job that precludes the wearing of a mask and the person is wearing or using that equipment, or when wearing a mask would endanger public safety

o lawfully asked to remove their mask for facial recognition purposes